[Marxism] Celia Hart: The color of my happiness is to the beat of Baraguá

Walter Lippmann walterlx at earthlink.net
Sat Mar 18 05:36:27 MST 2006

A VIBRANT column by Celia Hart through which the enthusiasm which
Cubans hold for their team's progress is palpable. She calls what
has happened a war of smiles against money. There's a nice photo
of the Cuban team at the website where Hart's essay is posted.

Cubans are always talking about Baraguá. What's that all about?
At the conclusion of the Ten Years War, in 1878, a negotiated
settlement brought the war to a conclusion, but slavery wasn't
abolished and independence not granted. The best Cuban fighters,
led by the Bronze Titan, Antonio Maceo, gathered to emphatically
and publicly reject the settlement in the Protest at Baraguá, a
theme which runs through the speeches of Fidel Castro and others.
Baraguá simply means the struggle for unconditional independence
and the unequivocal rejection of United States domination.

A special commentary on Baraguá was published just this week and
CubaNews translated it for the English-speaking readership:

Walter Lippmann, CubaNews

The color of my happiness is to the beat of Baraguá
Celia Hart 2006-03-16

A CubaNews translation by Ana Portela. 
Edited by Walter Lippmann.

It all happened yesterday, the 128th Anniversary of the Protest of
Baraguá. In spite of the confidence that the baseball narrators
wanted to infuse in us regarding Havana and San Juan, the voices were
so broken that instead of calming us they gave us a dose of terror.
It’s just that we were all tuned in. With the same doubts and with
the same anxiety.

The carefully-considered words that we had already played our role,
that the medal of dignity, etc. did not reach the hypothalamus, which
is where the Cuban people store, among other things, their love of
baseball – there where we keep all those things that cannot be
explained in the cortex. There, where we freely fill the plazas
although we keep on talking about the price of pork.

Puerto Rico had cleaned us out in the Ist World Baseball Classic;
some hitters weren’t responding, our star pitchers couldn’t help us
would we be going to San Diego in California? Wouldn’t we be
doing what all baseball lovers wanted, which was to face the Big and
Classy North American Leagues on the ball field? I don’t think there
was a Cuban that evening in March who had done other than watch the
most important events in the known world as they unfolded.

For several hours I stopped suffering the epidemic injustices in
which we live. The impertinence of the Zionists and the absurd
pressures applied by the world to have the Palestinians turn not only
“the other cheek” but the body also, the stupid threats against Iran
where it seems that even an atomic nucleus has an owner, nor the
possible victory of the FMLN in San Salvador; not even about my
unpublished articles about Che
Something important, unbelievable was
happening to fill my emotional life. It left no room for anything but
what was happening in San Juan, Puerto Rico, where 18 men were
throwing little balls at each other and another 18 trying to hit it
with a hunk of wood while the others tried to catch them. A total
stupidity? Well, at least, there were several million stupid people
in this island bordering on the equator of the planet.

March 15, the 128th anniversary of the clash between the astute
Martínez Campos with his imperial logic, the most “modern” and
capable Spanish politician, against the Mambi firmness of the new
Cuban people. The Spanish envoy extolled the apparently “logical”
reasons for the Mambises to put down their combat machetes 
reasonable reasons 
 but that beautiful mulatto of our history calmly
answered that that was no solution for Cuba, even with its slaves, to
be free. “No, no we don’t understand each other”, General Antonio
Maceo told the stunned European who was speechless. Ah, imperialists,
that is what you cannot understand 
 no, no, you will never

Well, this March 15, as luck would have it, other beautiful mulattos,
those that make women perspire even in winter, also told of the
logical reasons of capitalist development, of consumerism, of
profitable sports, of drugs, replied “no, my dear friends 
 we will
never understand each other”.

And that March evening, my nine beautiful men also raised their
wooden machetes. You had to see them: The Puerto Rican brothers were
stronger, bigger, serious. The Cubans slender, with 20,000 frantic
fans against them and it looked like they were playing at home.

I don’t know how many curse words were said in the island (it may be
a record), how many painted nails were ruined by nervous teeth, how
many children were late to school the next day with their hearts in
their mouths and a smile of victory on the pillow.

Baseball was the first team sport my son had. I call on the reasoning
of an umpire when I can’t explain something. It’s about team sports.
It can be that a pitcher is out of control; then the dancers of
shortstop and second base or the farther outfielders, or the catcher
saves him. That is what I say: “we are not doing well there but here
we are”.

And that’s how we got there. Because another thing about this
“protest” game was that there were no star players. Victory was
shared be all, those on the field and those on the benches, who also
knew what to do.

I must confess. I am a fan of the Industriales who represent the
Cuban capital, a fierce and stubborn fan. I'm one of those who
consider the Latin American Stadium the most luxurious nightclub in
Havana during the final games of the season. What’s more, I enjoy the
National Series games sometimes even more than the international

But yesterday was different. Something more powerful was in play than
an international confrontation.

It was a war of smiles against money.

And we had to win that March 15, because if not, the Caribbean Sea
would be split in two. Because Antonio Maceo was standing behind the
team manager, Higinio Vélez, the one who gave us a never-before seen
scene of passion, there in the controversial decision at second base.

Seated there was Maceo, with his mustache, his white suit and
machete, raised, although perhaps my slender and bubbling boys did
not realize it. Perhaps they will never know what they were

Because there weren’t only two sports teams playing; playing was a
way of doing and being against another. It was a defense explaining
there was no need for a warehouse full of material things needed to
make our species happy. What other muscles can be formed? To enjoy
baseball, we needn’t watch Africa dying of hunger or AIDS; it is not
necessary to kill Iraq for the sorry reason of its oil; it’s not
necessary to lie and shut down the neuronal synapses with ads for
tooth paste 
so that our children can have a pretty smile.

Of course I’ll be told that many of our best baseball players chose
objects and not smiles. I don’t blame them. It’s the fault of all the
revolutionaries who haven’t managed to rid us of the blight of
capitalism. Those who did not make the Cuban team of March 15, 2006,
having left us like many others, I only wish them the best and ask
them how many millions of dollars wouldn’t they spend to play and
hear the cuss words of the Cubans for a bad play, or a shout of glee
for good ones, or the hands of women covering their face when the
count is “three and two”.

Yes, we can know how much it is worth: Just count the grains of sand
in the Cuban coast; once that is done I’ll tell you the exact figure.

It could happen that many who were guided by Antonio Maceo this March
15 would abandon us. It doesn’t matter. There is one thing that will
not abandon us 
 and that is the Cuba baseball team. That is
 like so many others.

Socialism won over capitalism in San Juan. Call me doctrinare, if
you think I’m going about too happy for replies. Socialism bathed in
the sweat of the Cuban baseball players; those who say that they
prefer the red sports outfit, perhaps without knowing why, in
international competitions.

They don’t know, but I do 
 look closely, experts. My beautiful flag
embroidered in the shirt; there is a hologram used on bills to know
if they are valid 
 Look at the red sports shirts and you will see,
if you look with the eyes of the heart and commitment, that there is
a hammer and sickle there. That is the real banner they are
defending. The only better world possible that humanity deserves if
they intend to continue enjoying baseball.

Yesterday my baseball players were the best Bolsheviks in the world.

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